Braves High Expectations to Open Season – By BUCK BELUE

max fried, atlanta braves
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) works against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning of a spring training baseball game Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Port Charlotte, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

March 29, 2021 –
BY BUCK BELUE
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – The Braves opening day roster is set and it’s now “Go Time.” This is such an exciting time of the year, with baseball season getting underway. Especially in Braves Country, where our team is gunning for a 4th consecutive N.L. East Division title and a return to the postseason.

Plus, fans are being allowed back into Truist Park! I can’t wait to get back in there and cheer on our Braves, during the first homestand!

Max Fried gets the honor of making the opening day start and he deserves it! Max has been dominating the last two seasons and looked great this spring. He becomes the first opening day left-handed starter for the Braves since Tom Glavine in 2002.

Last season, the Braves record when Fried pitched was 13-2. In 2019, the Braves were 22-9 when Max got the start. So, the last two years, Fried has led the Braves to a 35-11 record as a starter. That’s frontline stuff.

His stuff is awesome and his make-up is too. This guy is an elite competitor. He pitches on the attack. He is afraid of no one. Expect to see another big-time season out of Max Fried!

Atlanta Braves, Ronald Acuna Jr.
Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Monday, April 1, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

There is a lot of talk about Braves Country seeing a big-time season out of Ronald Acuna, Jr. this year too. A special 40-40 season could be in play.

Why this year? Well, he’s settled into right field with Pache taking over in center. So, no more moving around in the outfield. Look for him to compete with Mookie Betts for the Gold Glove Award this season.

Also, a good sign in spring training was this: Ronald wasn’t chasing pitches out of the strike zone. He was locked in and hitting some bombs!

Did I mention how much I love seeing him hit at the top of the line-up? No? Well, I just love watching him hit lead-off! That gives him the opportunity to run a lot. Expect to see Ronald stealing a lot of bases this season. Forty might not be a problem.

Mike Soroka will not start the season on the active roster, but I’m expecting him back in the rotation by the end of April. If that is the case, Mike can get 25 starts this season. I’ve got him penciled in for 15 wins!

He’s in the best shape of his life and is determined to bounce back strong, after his achilles injury last year. Soroka’s return should totally solidify the Braves rotation, which appears to be one of the best on the league.

It’s “Go Time,” Braves Country! Get ready to get back out to the ballpark and cheer on the Braves! This is going to be fun.

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